Review: Garmin HRM-TRI

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Garmin HRM-TRI (HRM-SWIM) Review
Garmin HRM-TRI (HRM-SWIM) Review

The Garmin HRM-TRI is a waterproof, ANT+, chest strap specifically designed for recording HR for the top-end Garmin watches (920XT, Epix and Fenix3).

Positives: It’s comfortable and looks fine. It fills the gaps in your tri-data recording of your heart rate for both open water and pool sessions as well as for during races where it works exactly like the HRM-RUN ie additionally giving you cadence, GTC, VO and HRV data. Edit: It also produces the new lactate info for the 630 and Fenix 3 (and probably then the 920XT).

Indeed it stores all data from the pod for 20 hours for ANY sport – not just swimming. So you CAN play football with it an leave your compatible watch in your bag on the sidelines.

Negatives: As soon as it connected to my 920XT everything seemed to go in slow motion. I need to test this a lot more but my worry is that the slowness may impact on the accuracy of recording other data – notably GPS data. Whilst HR data was recorded for Garmin Connect it appears to be in a proprietary FIT format so not enabling other packages to access the same data (eg Firstbeat Athlete and sporttracks). HR data was only uploaded after the SWIM session had finished, no interval data could be viewed during the session. There are issues with 3rd party software being able to import the FIT files created.

Comments: This is EXACTLY the product I have been looking for for years *BUT* it seems quite expensive for something that doesn’t work as advertised…yet. The HRM-RUN watch *IS* waterproof. So the HRM/TRI specifically offers the same as that plus HR recording when in open water or pool swim modes. It also uniquely gives HRV data from water-based sessions…again I couldn’t get that to work properly either. Firmware is now updated to include Advanced Running Dynamics for the 630 (only Nov 2015).

Alternatives: Chest straps from Wahoo (TICKR-X), 4iiii Viiiiva, Polar, Suunto. The HRM-SWIM is essentially EXACTLY the same as the HRM-TRI in terms of data, except it handles chlorinated water a bit better and it stays in place better on bare chests – maybe also the HRM-SWIM is slightly less comfortable if used under a tri suit.

Verdict: Feb 2016: and it’s good to go – if you use 3rd party platforms make sure they are compatible with FIT files that contain cached HR data (many are not).

Detailed Review: Here is the detailed review.

Approximate prices are shown below

Garmin HRM-Swim £79.99 Link $99.99 Link
Garmin HRM-Tri £99.99 Link $129.99 Link
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